Showing posts with label the graces. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the graces. Show all posts

Monday, May 15, 2017

10 Overhyped Books I Disliked in the First Half of 2017 feat. Caraval, Firstlife & more




Sometimes you're really looking forward to reading certain books because all your friends love them. Sometimes I genuinely question my friendship with these people after reading these books. Hm.



THE GRACES - Laure Eve
I've never read a book so racist and homophobic and biphobic in my life. It's beyond me how anyone can recommend this with a good conscience. And beyond that, it's TWILIGHT just with witches instead of vampires.

THE KISS OF DECEPTION - Mary E. Pearson
The hype absolutely killed this one for me. I was expecting excellence, looking at how much bloggers hyped this! I really don't know what to do with books that have no plot. Not my cup of tea.

ARMADA - Ernest Cline
Welp. This was hyped way too much and my expectations were way too high. I love READY PLAYER ONE, but not so much that I'd enjoy the same thing all over again minus world building plus homophobia and ableism.



STATION ELEVEN - Emily St. John Mandel
Not sure what happenened here - I had no idea this was going to be so literary and so much more talk than actual gritty dystopia. Not my cup of tea.

SHUTTER - Courtney Alameda
This has been hyped for years and I actually was really excited for a super scary read. Unfortunately I didn't like this for very arbitrary reasons and it went more into the gore than scare direction, which I just really, deeply dislike.

FIRSTLIFE - Gena Showalter
At some point, this book was everywhere! I really love afterlife setting, but this one was really awkward, poorly written, and just reads like every other dystopian book from the last 5 years or so. Super uncreative. No thanks.



THE MERCILESS - Danielle Vega
I just couldn't. Gore and racist micro aggressions and a non-existent plot were way too many things to complain about for me - I really really didn't enjoy this.

CARAVAL - Stephanie Garber
This is the disappointment of 2017. Nothing has been hyped more than this book, and I'm genuinely shocked with all the things that I found in this that are downright dangerous for readers.

THE DEAD HOUSE - Dawn Kurtagich
Sigh... another horror book whose scariest feature is the insensitivity. If you are picking this up looking for DID representation, don't.




THE AMATEURS - Sara Shepard
I've never read any of her PRETTY LITTLE LIARS books and was very curious to find out what the fuss is all about. But this one hit me hard with racism and sexism. Hard pass.


What books disappointed you in 2017?

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Monday, January 16, 2017

[Review] The Graces (#1) - Laure Eve: Witches, Racism, and Biphobia

In THE GRACES, River is new to town and immediately grows obsessed with the town "celebrity" family Grace, who are said to be witches.

What intrigued me: Witches!

Carbon Copy of TWILIGHT

Many reviewers note that THE GRACES bears a lot of similarities to TWILIGHT. Which - well if you've been here for a while you know that I certainly wouldn't mind that. But it's very much a carbon copy of TWILIGHT, just interchanging vampires with witches. This is exactly the same reading experience, I don't even know what to say about the plot beyond that. 

The Grace family is exactly that brand of pretentious characters that speak in pseudo deep sentences that really makes you feel detached from the narration. None of the characters feel real, rather almost like a parody, because THE GRACES takes itself so, so seriously.
Eve has this poetic quite dreamy writing style that surely showcases her skills but it absolutely doesn't work in combination with that plot.

Beyond that we have our typical Mary Sue protagonist that's not like other girls and so special and different - can we just retire this already? There's nothing wrong with being exactly like all other girls. Girls are awesome.

Racism, Ableism, and Homophobia Galore 

THE GRACES is littered with slurs and insensitivity. So much so that I could basically educate you on what not to use just by using quotes from this book. Because it's just so much I'll use a list format.
I won't use any verbatim quotes here in the following in order not to clutter things up (and also because it's so much that going back and checking page numbers would take a century.)
  • Questionable POC/Asian rep. There is one non-white character in this book, mean girl Niral who engages in frequent homophobic comments and slut shaming. It's absolutely irresponsible to make your single POC (South-East Asian) character a despicable human being. It's even worse to include this in the first place if none of her horrible action are ever addressed and/or correct. This equals condoning her behavior.
  • Biphobia. THE GRACES uses bisexuality as a plot twist. If I tell you which character is bisexual, this would spoil the story. This is not how you represent LGBT* characters. Beyond that it's stigmatized and seen as disgusting and horrifying when the character is forcibly and violently outed. THE GRACES also features a hate crime on the basis of sexuality that is normalized and encouraged. 
  • Queerbaiting? Protagonist River has an obsession with Summer Grace that comes across more like a misguided crush. This book could've been so much more interesting if the romance was between two girls and not about running after a boy who doesn't really seem interested.
  • Homophobia. Mean girl Niral spreads rumors about a side character being a lesbian. I don't know in what world being a lesbian is a negative thing, but THE GRACES makes sure to portray it like that. Earlier on before the bisexual character is outed him being bullied by a boy is described as '[the bullied boy] seemed to enjoy [getting bullied] a little too much'. 
  • Casual racial slurs. You'll find g*psy and many more in this book as casual descriptors that are never addressed. Normalizing slurs is unacceptable. Racism isn't cool or quirky.
  • Casual ableism. The lovely line 'their parents divorce hung over them like lepracy' and calling a boy 'too strong to faint like that' are always quite lovely to read.
  • Straight-forward ableism. There's this lovely dialogue between two characters fairly early on where they talk about a supposedly mentally-ill character and say 'well you can't be friends with someone [...] with mental problems.'
...and this isn't even a complete list. At some point I just grew so emotionally exhausted that I just wanted to get this over with and stopped keeping tabs. Most of the things I mentioned can be found within the first 80 or so pages. 

It's extremely disappointing to not only see a racist homophobic and ableist book like that published, but also to see reviewers and bloggers recommend this happily. I was hurt by this book. And so many other marginalized readers in the future will be.

So yeah. That was THE GRACES. If you plan on reading this, be extremely careful.

Rating:

★☆☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE GRACES shocked me through the frequent insensitivity, homophobia, biphobia, and racial slurs. It's extremely horrifying that all of this ended up in the final version. Marginalized readers, please be very careful. Beyond that it's a typical Mary Sue moves to new town story that has so much in common with TWILIGHT that you can only call it fan fiction.

Trigger warning for: racial slurs, slut shaming, homophobia, biphobia, hate crimes (LGBT)


Additional Info

Published: September 1st 2016
Pages: 415
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Genre: YA / Paranormal / Witches & Wizards
ISBN: 9780571326808

Synopsis:
"Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?"
(Source: Goodreads)



What's your favorite book about witches?

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